Monthly Archives: January 2002

Who's sleepy?

The rest of the BME software development team:

An open letter to all newspapers

(This is in regards to the tongue piercing = brain infection b.s.).

Anyone reading this is welcome to take this letter I just wrote to the Toronto Star and send it to their local papers. Feel free to even take my name off this letter and sign your own, or edit it however you want (well, don't put my name on it if you edit it though). Anyway, here it is:

Almost every newspaper lately, yours included, has been rerunning a story about a brain infection potentially linked to a tongue piercing. This story twists the facts and misrepresents this fluke infection to unfairly blow this risk out of proportion (even the doctors who reported this have problems believing this infection could be related to the piercing).

Body jewelry manufacturers estimate that well over a million tongue piercings have been performed (they know this because tongue piercings are done using a very specific length of jewelry). Let's look at some other risks: One in 250,000 dog owners is killed by their own dog. One in 180 people dies while running. Why have you not brought attention to these issues? The public needs to know that we need to put all the dogs to sleep and set a personal speed limit of two miles per hour!

I'm all for telling people the risks of body piercing -- people should to know what the risks are for all the things they do. That said, misleading people with false risks accomplishes nothing. If you want to focus on a problem with tongue piercing, focus on chipped teeth, as this is very common. More importantly, it's a problem that can actually be solved by the client simply returning to their piercer a month afterwards to get a snug-fitting bar installed. You see -- that just told people a valid risk that they need to worry about, and it even told them how to minimize the risk. It's not hard.

One in 86,000 skydives is fatal. One in a million tongue piercings might lead to a non-fatal infection... and you think that this one in a million risk warrants this article? I can't believe your team is that stupid. If you want to reprint articles like this about pierced people, why don't you just get the lies over with and admit this is about prejudice against a community that doesn't meet your "cultural norms". You can skip the fake risks and just make your headline simple: "Only freaks have tongue piercings. We don't like you freaks."

I hope in the future that your newspaper will desist from such frivolous -- and prejudicially targeted -- fear mongering. If not, I expect to see the headline, "Government to involuntarily commit all mountain climbers" -- after all, mountain climbing kills one in five serious climbers, whereas suicide attempts are only successful one in seventy-one times.

Shannon Larratt
Publisher, BME: Body Modification Ezine

My supper…

Mushrooms, green onion, minced fresh ginger and fresh garlic.

Fry it all up!

Rice joins the game.

Served with a mixed salad with a maple balsamic vinagrette.


…sorry I'm not writing much here, I'm currently in the process of rewriting all of the FAQs on BME so all my writing energies are being used up. Right now I'm tackling the horribly out of date, extremely limited, and quite possibly irresponsible “home surgery advice faq”, now retitled the “Elective Home Surgery FAQ”.

From the introduction:

Q: Why home surgery?

The "legitimate" medical community has a remarkably limited range of elective procedures that they are able to offer without facing intense scrutiny and potentially sanctions from their peers. As such, there are a myriad of procedures (including atypical implants, transdermal implants, subincisions, silicone injections, castration, and amputation to name only a few) that are unavailable using the Western medical industry.

As such, people are left with a limited number of options including not getting the procedure at all, doing it themselves, seeking the assistance of an "underground" practitioner (possibly medically trained, but more than likely not), or travelling to a doctor in a country where doctors are not as restricted.

Q: What is this FAQ about?

This FAQ is designed to expose readers to some of the issues involved with performing surgical procedures in a non-medical environment with largely untrained practitioners. This document is not intended as a training guide, and in no way does reading a document like this make a person qualified to perform these procedures.

That said, the vast majority of -- and perhaps all -- practitioners serving the body modification community, be they piercers or be they implanters, fall into the category of "home surgeon" in that they are performing what are arguably pseudo-surgical procedures without the support of the medical community. Using the services of these practitioners is still in most cases the safer than doing it yourself, but it is essential to inform yourself as to the issues they are facing so you can better assess whether the risk is worth it.

Sections in the FAQ include Surgical Supplies and Tools, Wound Closure, Anesthesia, Legalities and Ethics, Training, Risks, and Getting Supplies.


Modern computer keyboards suck. They have no “feel” and they wear out quickly… As most of you should know, IBM made it's earlier fortunes selling typewriters, and as such, it's early customers demanded keyboards that had the same heavy feel as the typewriters. The keys were wonderful; it took some effort to push them down, and they clicked nicely. They gave you feedback… I guess it's sort of like the difference between playing a real piano and playing a cheap synth.

I moved my IBM/RT keyboard (that will give some of you even more hints into jobs I've had in the past) from computer to computer until changing standards and wear and tear eventually made me phase it out… I have never found a keyboard as nice since.

Anyway, thanks to programming and drinking at the same time, my “normal” keyboards have become gummed up and some of the control keys have stopped working. I'm sure I could dismantle and fix them, but I don't have time for that right now, so I picked up a couple of $20 keyboards to replace them. While at the computer store I watched a customer freak out…

He was a well dressed older man, slighly balding, and reaking of superiority and snootiness. He asked to see someone that worked at the store who happened to be at lunch. When he was told this, he loudly and angrily retorted “Why isn't he here? I told him I was coming in today!”

He then refused to tell any of the other people in the store why he needed to talk to this guy and eventually stormed out after having made a huge scene. I guess that if you're rich, then people are supposed to cancel their lunch for you…

Anyway, I'm working on the suspension FAQ and maintenance software, and Rachel is working on an image update.